As budgets for local news outlets dry up, a new form of daily news is arriving on people's smartphones and tablets. According to a recent Financial Times article, corporate-sponsored news sites are thriving, further blurring the lines between legitimate news and sponsored content.

One example cited in the article is a “news site” that is sponsored by Chevron and edited by a public relations firm. Euphemistically called “brand journalism” by its promoters, this type of journalism is a far cry from the fiercely independent fourth estate epitomized by Humphrey Bogart in “Deadline USA.”

News on these types of sites goes beyond slanted and becomes outright promotional in many cases. As reported in the article, meager newsroom budgets have decimated local news outlets, allowing more stories into circulation that would never have seen the light of day in the past.

In past days, corporate PR professionals would work to get press releases and story pitches published. Now they can cut through the pitching and write their own stories. By going from pitching to writing, corporations can manufacture brand perceptions in a way that was once unthinkable.